This week a story has emerged that details alleged abuse of former employees by a heavyweight in the floristry industry. The former employees allege that they were subjected to constant bullying and intimidation, and were not able to stand up for themselves for fear of losing their jobs. The story suggests that workplace safety was depriortised to increase productivity, pressuring staff (largely foreign nationals) to work in an unsafe environment simply to get the quantity of work done that was required.
What this story highlighted most for me was the strengths in a small business like Florist With Flowers. Whether we like it or not, small florist businesses like ours, need to compete with bigger businesses, and what the supermarkets have on offer. There is certainly no comparison in terms of quality and artistry, however we will forever be subjected to comparisons in price, and that’s just business.
What you need to know when comparing supermarket flowers to you local florist’s bouquets:
- The reason the prices are so low is because they are made to a ‘recipe’. There is no freedom in being inspired to create, and no freedom to add to an arrangement even when necessary.
- Shortcuts. Flowers are not conditioned adequately to save time. Foliage may not be stripped carefully, thorns are mechanically smashed, however not completely removed from the stem.
- Gift wrapping is basic, and incomplete. It is easy to spot a supermarket bunch a mile off right? The stems of the bouquets are always left unwrapped, although you are given the option on a bag to attach. It lacks the finish and finesse of a florist bought bouquet.
- Flowers are delivered infrequently (usually weekly) with little or no care between deliveries. Older bouquets are usually discounted or disposed of at the end of the week.
What will your local florist offer you?
- Your local florist will take time to listen to what you want, who the gift is for and will lovingly create the fresh flower arrangement for you.
- The materials for your fresh flower bouquet will be carefully prepared (stripped, dethroned, worked if required) and then constructed. You will have the option to add a little more if you like, or to add another colour.
- Your florist can package your bouquet ready for travel if it will be out of water for a length of time, or may suggest creating a self contained arrangement if more appropriate.
- Your flowers will be fresher. The local florist will be replenished with fresh flowers regularly and the vases and buckets will be washed and filled with fresh water.
In a local florist, staff matter- your staff look after your customers when you can not be there. Looking after them, ensures they look after you and your business. Richard Branson advocates for looking after staff, acknowledging that although businesses differ it is vitally important to look after the staff you have and show them how valuable their efforts are to you.
If reading stories like this one in the news bothers you, the decision is yours. Rather than being just another number to a big business, support a small business. Every bouquet you buy, every bunch of flowers you take home, means that this little family business gets to keep our dream alive, and for that, we will be forever thankful.